The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association is changing its name and its mission in an effort to develop a more effective lobbying strategy on healthcare reform.
The Washington-based organization has been under fire during the healthcare reform debate as drug companies sought to justify their profits and at times fought among themselves over what response they should make to calls for reform.
Beginning this week, the organization will become the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA. The new moniker is consistent with the group's altered mission, which emphasizes research advocacy, according to a statement describing the changes.
The organization has for years stressed the critical importance of pharmaceutical research to the quality of care Americans receive and has warned that government cost restraints aimed at controlling drug prices would undermine research initiatives.
President Clinton, his administration and some members of Congress have hammered the drug industry in the past few years. They have argued that pharmaceutical companies engage in price gouging and are a major cause of the escalation of healthcare costs.
Sheldon G. Gilgore, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Searle, was named chairman of PhRMA. The group, which has lost some of its large members in recent years over differences in healthcare reform strategies, plans to expand its board of directors to give broader representation to smaller firms.
While PhRMA will make structural changes, a statement from the group said it had "full confidence" in its president, Gerald Mossinghoff.